Leyte Samar Daily Express

MAJOR ruling political families in Eastern Visayas are still assured to continue with their dominance on their respective turfs with the only exception of the Dazas in Northern Samar, ironically supposed to be the bailiwick of President Benigno Aquino III’s Liberal Party (LP).

In Leyte, the dominance of the Romualdez and Petilla families remain, as both Leopoldo Dominico Petilla and Ferdinand Martin Romualdez were unopposed on their respective bids for governor and congressman.

Petilla (LP) still managed to collect more than 300,000 votes, while Romualdez obtained 107,627 votes.

Romualdez (Lakas-CMD) was proclaimed last Wednesday at 5:45 p.m. while the members of the provincial board of canvassers proclaimed Petilla Thursday night.

Romualdez represents Leyte’s first congressional district, which includes Tacloban whose re-elected mayor, Alfred Romualdez, is a cousin.

What makes Alfred’s poll victory sweeter was his opponent, Representative Florencio Noel of the An Waray party-list group, was endorsed no less by the President and sister, Kris Aquino.

In Biliran, the smallest province of the region comprising of eight towns with a voting population of 104,712, is still dominated by the Espina family.

Both its governor, Gerardo “Boy” Espina Jr. (LP) and its lone congressional representative, Rogelio Espina (LP), trounced their respective rivals.

The re-elected governor obtained a total vote of 47,066 against his closet rival Niceto Limpiado (Pwersa ng Masa) who only obtained 25,095 votes. His elder brother Rogelio won over his old rival, ex-representative Glen Chong (Pwersa ng Masa).

Espina, who is seeking for his second term, obtained 46,072 against Chong’s 35,421 votes. Both were already proclaimed at 12:59 a.m. Thursday by the provincial board of canvassers.

Another brother tandem, this time in Southern Leyte, are sure to continue on their grips of the provincial political landscape.

Roger Mercado (National Unity Party) is enjoying a wide lead against his opponent, Robert Castañares (LP). Comelec counts disclosed that Mercado had 92,603 votes against Castañares’ 58,293 votes.

His brother, Damian (NUP), is also enjoying majority votes compared to his three rivals who included Rosette Lerias (LP), whose family had dominated the province for decades.

So far, Damian collected 85,919 votes while his closest rival, St. Bernard Mayor Rico Rentuza (Akbayan) has only 34,239 votes. Lerias, in the other hand, has 31,640 votes.

It is still a Tan country in Samar, which comprise of two cities and 21 municipalities, as three of its members appear to get re-elected.

Family matriarch, Milagrosa Tan (NPC), is on her way for a second term at the House of Representatives as she has obtained a big margin of vote against her opponent, Eunice Babalcon (LP).

As of Thursday morning, Tan has a total vote of 62,516 against Babalcon’s 52,209 votes. Her son, Vice Governor Stephen James (NPC), is sure to return to his post for the second term as he obtained 103,189 votes against his rival, former Basey town mayor, Wilfredo Estorninos’ 76,905 votes.

Governor Sharee Ann Tan (NPC), seeking for her second term, is still facing a tough battle with Aika Uy (LP) with only a few thousand of votes separating them.

So far, Tan managed to collect 106,948 votes, while Uy has 103,895 votes, a margin of 3,053 votes.

While the political families in the region are enjoying another fresh mandate from their respective electorate under allegation of massive vote-buying during election, it is not true in Northern Samar.

Based on Wednesday night’s tabulation of the provincial board of canvassers, Representative Raul Daza and his son, Governor Paul Daza, are on the losing side.

The Dazas, particularly the elder, are stalwarts of the ruling LP with no less than the President campaigned for their reelection.

The elder Daza appears to be defeated by his long-time political rival, Harlin Abayon. Latest poll count revealed that Daza has only 44,281 votes compared to Abayon’s 49,451 votes.

His son, Paul is heading for an exit after serving once as a congressman and now as a governor for a term. His rival, Jose Ong, is way above him by more than 35,000 votes.

So far, Daza has a total vote of 102,258 as against Ong’s 138,248 votes.

An ally of the Dazas, incumbent Vice Governor Ram Uy, is also losing heavily against Representative Emil Ong for the province’s second district.

Ong was proclaimed Thursday night with a total vote of 71,533 against Uy’s 46,988 votes.

Elsewhere in Eastern Samar, Ben Evardone was proclaimed Thursday night with 113,346 votes against his rival.

Incumbent Governor Conrado Nicart Jr. was also proclaimed as he garnered 108,344 votes. (Sarwell Meniano/Leyte Samar Daily Express)

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